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At this week’s debate of Democratic candidates for the 2004 presidential primary, all but one agreed on a common target: former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. But the volley of BB-strength potshots did little to change the perception that Dean is pulling away from his opponents. For the challengers, some signs your campaign against Dean isn’t working:

Saturday Night Live didn’t return your calls about appearing.

♦ Neither did Teddy Bart.

♦ Local dignitaries insist on introducing you as “the late.”

♦ You didn’t get the expected bump from the hotly contested Lincoln Davis endorsement.

♦ John Jay Hooker is advising you about how to win Tennessee.

♦ Your “Me Too, Only More” platform has yet to generate much excitement.

♦ You want to dangle Howard Dean in front of a crocodile.

♦ Every barbershop in Iowa knows you as “that guy Dean’s running against.”

♦ Jonathan Alter thinks you have a chance.

♦ UHF stations demand payment for TV ads up front in cash.

♦ Your former running mate forgot to call.

♦ The latest poll has you trailing a close second to the close second.

♦ You were in charge of the BCS.

♦ You refer to yourself not only in the third person but also in the conditional tense.

♦ You’re still waiting to hear back about that exclusive interview with Nashville Parent.

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